Twelve years ago, we had Dynamics GP 10. Nearly five years ago, we received Dynamics GP 2015. Then we received Dynamics GP 2016. Then came Dynamics 2018 and 2018 R2. Now? We have Microsoft Dynamics GP. Hard stop. No year. Announced late last month, Microsoft has released a new version simply titled Dynamics GP.

Why? Because in an exciting announcement, Microsoft has moved to implement something called the Modern Lifecycle Policy for Dynamics GP. Today, we look at what this means and why it is so important for the future of Dynamics GP.

What Is the Modern Lifecycle Policy?

You’ve come to know the recent Microsoft Fixed Lifecycle for Dynamics GP—release, R2, and year-end updates throughout mainstream support. However, the Modern Lifecycle is different. Much like Dynamics 365, Office 365, or Azure, the Modern Lifecycle delivers continuous improvements and support.

How Does It Work?

Products and services governed by the Modern Lifecycle Policy are supported as long as customers stay current as per the servicing and licensing requirements published for the product or service and have the rights to use the product or service. 

Under this policy, the product or service remains in support if the following criteria are met:

  1. Customers must stay current as per the servicing and system requirements published for the product or service.
  2. Customers must be licensed to use the product or service.
  3. Microsoft must currently offer support for the product or service.

In simple terms, you get more updates. Like in all other Lifecycle Policies, updates are tailored to user requests and announced beforehand so users can prepare for any potential changes that will be coming to them.

How Does It Differ from the Fixed Lifecycle?

The Modern Lifecycle Policy differs in some respects from traditional lifecycle policies, but is similar in their underlying principles.

Similarities to Fixed Lifecycle:

  • Both policies establish a framework for consistency and predictability for Microsoft’s packaged software and services.
  • As with the Service Pack Policy for products governed by the Fixed Lifecycle Policy, the Microsoft Modern Lifecycle Policy provides a notification period for customers to plan for and implement changes to their environment. Changes must be implemented, or service degradation or interruption is possible.
  • For both policies, security updates are provided for supported services at no charge. Some security updates are applied by Microsoft; others may require customer action.

Differences from Fixed Lifecycle:

  • Notification of change will be provided for products and services governed by the Modern Lifecycle Policy. The means of communication may vary depending on the product or service. See the respective lifecycle date grid listing for links to servicing information and timelines. 
  • Products and services under the Modern Lifecycle Policy may follow a more rapid release cadence in comparison to products and services governed by Fixed policies. Microsoft will provide a minimum 30-day notification when customers are required to take action in order to avoid significant degradation to the normal use of the service. 

What Does This Mean for GP?

While the Modern Lifecycle is offered and well known for a variety of products, it marks a significant change to the way GP users experience updates. That said, it is a change, and it’s marks a different experience for IT and end users.

Three Updates Per Year

Under the Modern Lifecycle for GP, companies receive three updates per year—Mid-Year, October, and Year-End.

  • Feature update in October: A larger update that includes new features for customers.
  • Year-end updates in November (U.S.) December (Canada)
  • Mid-Year update (typically June/July timeframe) depending on regulatory changes for the year

Add this to hotfixes, quality fixes, and security updates pushed out throughout the year, and users will continue to see the product improve.

The End of Mainstream and Extended Support Schedules

If there is one selling point for the Modern Lifecycle, it’s this: Releases no longer have an expiration date. After upgrading, as long as your company stays current, you continue to get support until Microsoft announces the end of the product. No more five- and ten-year support schedules (after you upgrade—previous versions are subject to previous support schedules). 

With Mainstream Support ending soon for GP 2015 and Extended on the way out for GP 2010, upgrading is beneficial.

Updates Announced in Advance and Able to be Sandboxed

Staying current is easier than ever. While the update process used to be a hassle for companies with 3rd party solutions, recent years have seen this process get easier. Ask any partner that does updates, it has gotten way easier, today all they do is install the update, push a button and let it run.

Microsoft has come a long way with updates, and due to the stage of life GP is in, they aren’t pushing are not making large architecture changes as were common 10 years ago.  This equates to easier updates, less failures and simpler for our customers to apply.  For the 80-plus percent of Microsoft customers using at least one third-party solution with GP, this is a welcome concept.

Staying Current

In order to continue getting support and access new updates, you need to “stay current.” For example, if you want access to 2021, you need to take at least one update from 2020.

Customers may stay current by taking at least one of the three yearly planned Dynamics GP releases. Before the October 2019 release, any older release will continue to follow their existing Lifecycle timelines under the Fixed Policy. You can see those dates in the table below. We commit to 3 updates per year with additional updates as needed.

Rapid Innovation, Easy Upgrades, Consider the Move to the New GP

Whether you are on 2018 and looking for even more advancement from GP, are a 2015 or 2016 user who wants a product that will keep you in mainstream support, or are pushing to the end of your 2010 or 2013 products, there are many reasons to make the move to the new GP. With a variety of new enhancements in the 2019 release, this marks an exciting time for those who make the move.

As a leading implementation partner for Microsoft Dynamics GP, MIBAR can help you upgrade your old GP system, provide support if your current partner doesn’t cut it, or help new customers make the move. Get to know more about companies who we’ve helped make the most with GP including Starplast and Mountain States Rosen and contact us for a free consultation.

Additional Microsoft Dynamics GP Resources

Microsoft Dynamics GP Upgrades and Support

Microsoft Dynamics GP Upgrade Planning and Best Practices

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